contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Definition of contaminate

transitive verb

1a : to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association Bacteria contaminated the wound.
b : to make inferior or impure by admixture iron contaminated with phosphorus
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

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Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ kən-​ˈta-​mə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for contaminate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for contaminate

contaminate, taint, pollute, defile mean to make impure or unclean. contaminate implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source. water contaminated by industrial wastes taint stresses the loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contamination. tainted meat a politician's tainted reputation pollute, sometimes interchangeable with contaminate, distinctively may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy. the polluted waters of the river defile implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration. defile a hero's memory with slanderous innuendo

Examples of contaminate in a Sentence

Be careful not to allow bacteria to contaminate the wound. Don't touch the microchip or the oil on your hands will contaminate it. Make sure the white paint is not contaminated by any of the other colors.
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Recent Examples on the Web Waste generated during the manufacture of the two vaccines wasn’t decontaminated using qualified methods, and the waste was transported through a warehouse in a way that created the potential to contaminate the warehouse, the report said. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "FDA Finds Poor Conditions at Contractor’s Plant for Making J&J’s Covid-19 Vaccine," 21 Apr. 2021 Putting a new one on a dirty drivetrain will contaminate it quickly, leading to faster wear. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, "Maintenance That Will Prep Your Bike for Spring," 29 Mar. 2021 Some diseases can also infect people, and the hog's waste can contaminate human food sources and water supplies, according to DNR. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Here are 5 of the most harmful invasive animals and insects wreaking havoc in Indiana," 15 Mar. 2021 By the early 1980s, Southern Company execs knew that storing coal ash in ponds without a protective liner could contaminate groundwater. Max Blau, ProPublica, "The Coal Plant Next Door," 22 Mar. 2021 Scientists fear that microorganisms from Earth might contaminate other planets or, even worse, throw off the search for extraterrestrial life. Mike Wehner, BGR, "Life from Earth might survive on Mars, but not for long," 27 Feb. 2021 Planetary protection lead Moogega Cooper (@moogega) was responsible for making sure the spacecraft didn’t carry any unexpected biological material from Earth that would contaminate Mars. Jacob Muñoz, Smithsonian Magazine, "How to Keep Up With NASA’s Perseverance Rover as It Explores Mars," 24 Feb. 2021 First, for people not to touch too much and not to contaminate it too much, and definitely contact local law enforcement in their community, who can then reach out to us. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "FBI reveals new evidence in hopes of identifying unknown victims of serial killer," 13 Mar. 2021 Organic may not automatically mean the heavy metal content is lower because soil could have been contaminated for generations before its conversion, and neighboring farm water runoff could contaminate common water sources. C. Michael White, The Conversation, "How safe is your baby food? Company reports show arsenic, lead and other heavy metals – here’s what you need to know," 22 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contaminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of contaminate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for contaminate

Middle English contaminaten, borrowed from Latin contāminātus, past participle of contāmināre "to defile, pollute," from con- con- + -tāmināre, verbal derivative of *tāmen "touching, contact," going back to *tāg-(s)men, from tag-, variant stem of tangere "to touch" + *-(s)men, noun suffix of result — more at tangent entry 2

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Time Traveler for contaminate

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The first known use of contaminate was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Contaminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contaminate. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for contaminate

contaminate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of contaminate

: to make (something) dangerous, dirty, or impure by adding something harmful or undesirable to it

contaminate

verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈta-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Kids Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association The wound was contaminated by bacteria.
2 : to make unfit for use by adding something harmful or unpleasant The water is contaminated with chemicals.

contaminate

transitive verb
con·​tam·​i·​nate | \ kən-ˈtam-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \
contaminated; contaminating

Medical Definition of contaminate

1 : to soil, stain, or infect by contact or association bacteria contaminated the wound
2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements water contaminated by sewage

Other Words from contaminate

contaminative \ -​ˌnāt-​iv How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \ adjective
contaminator \ -​ˌnāt-​ər How to pronounce contaminate (audio) \ noun

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